BMW may be planning to release a new electric hatchback through the company’s i Series sub-brand — if recently surfaced patent images are anything to go by. The images in question accompanied a filing in Japan, and certainly look like what one would expect a BMW i Series hatchback to look like.
Going by recent comments made by BMW execs, one would guess that, if an actual production vehicle results, it will be a fully electric car.
Notably, the design seems to feature rear “suicide doors” as the BMW i3 does — though, ones that can open independently, rather than only when the front doors are open, as with the i3.
Autocar provides more: “The patent images were first picked up by a Canadian car news website, after being filed for patent in Japan. The images aren’t alone in their patenting though; although no further patent images have surfaced, BMW has in recent months trademarked a full range of i car badges, with i-cars from i1 to i9 being trademarked. Not all of these are likely to reach production and the filing of some of these names is likely a protective exercise to stop others from using them, but the size of the car, along with the range of badges used means i4 is the most likely. It’s also expected that there will be at least one SUV produced under the BMW i sub-brand, as SUVs’ growth in the automotive industry continues. Sources at BMW have always maintained that the first i-badged SUV would carry the i5 name.”
Presumably if something does come out of this, the model will feature a fairly substantial battery pack (and thus range), as well as autonomous driving features intended to compete with Tesla’s.
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